BridgingApps® to Curate Apps for Sentara Health Plans Members with Special Health Care Needs

APRIL 2024
BridgingApps®, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is partnering with Sentara Health Plans to provide expertly vetted lists of mobile device applications, or apps, to support its members who have special health care needs or disabilities.

Millions could lose affordable access to internet service with FCC program set to run out of funds

Walter Prescher, a father with 10 children living at home, says internet access is essential to keep his household running smoothly.  

“For some of the clients I work with, losing this benefit is going to be catastrophic,” Prescher told CBS News. “Internet in a lot of these communities is extremely cost-prohibitive. A lot of times they’re looking at $100+ a month for what in a more urban or suburban area would cost $50 a month just because they’re so remote.”

Easterseals Announces Two-Year Grant of $1.3M From the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation

JUNE 2023
Easterseals, the nation’s leading nonprofit provider of services and advocacy for 61M individuals with disabilities in the United States, has received a two-year grant of $1.3M from the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation to expand digital literacy training among young adults with disabilities in employment programs at seven Easterseals Affiliates nationwide while also funding a national study to determine digital equity and access among BIPOC populations with disabilities.

Easter Seals Greater Houston Named NDIA National Digital Navigator Corps Grantee

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) announced today that Easter Seals Greater Houston will be one of 18 organizations that will launch the National Digital Navigator Corps.

The grant is part of a $10 million investment from, which will support the hiring of the community-based digital navigators alongside programmatic and technical support to further develop NDIA’s digital navigator model for rural communities. Digital navigators at the 18 selected sub-grantee organizations, including at Easter Seals Greater Houston, will help thousands of residents to gain much-needed access to the internet, devices, and digital skills training.

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BridgingApps: Virtual Accessibility for All | Tubetorial

JULY 2022
Cristen Carson Reat of BridgingApps tells us how the company is bridging the gap between technology and people with disabilities.

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Digital Literacy Checkup: 3 Questions to Ask Your Patients

JUNE 2022
Digital literacy can mean the difference between social isolation and social connection, or between anxiety and self-confidence. In some cases, especially where a person is at high risk for suicide or medical crisis, it can mean the difference between life and death. BridgingApps Digital Content Writer, Katherine Swarts and John Torous MD, MBI recently co-authored Digital Literacy Checkup: 3 Questions to Ask Your Patients in Psychology Today.

Meet Cristen Reat

April 2022

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Cristen Carson Reat of BridgingApps Tells How the Houston-based Nonprofit Leverages Technology to Help People with Disabilities, Startup.Info.


Cristen Fox 26 News

Website Launched to Help Those Needing a Technology Lifeline, Randy Wallace, Fox 26

FOX 26’s Randy Wallace has more on a technology lifeline for some who are living in a virtual world due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Comcast NBCUniversal Provides Easterseals With A $325,000 Grant To Help Its Clients Lead More Independent Lives Through Assistive Technology

JUNE 30, 2020
Easterseals today announced it has received a grant of $325,000 from Comcast NBCUniversal to provide assistive technology solutions addressing challenges faced by people with disabilities, veterans and seniors during and throughout the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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CTA Foundation Awards $700,000 to Address Social Isolation and Improve Lives with Technology

MAY 2020
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Foundation has awarded $700,000 in grants to 21 organizations supporting the lives of seniors and people with disabilities through technology. First time grantees include Helen Keller National Center, American Printing House for Blind and Code of Support Foundation.

Comcast Story

Houston nonprofit tests Comcast’s new vision control technology for viewers with disabilities

“While eye gaze technology has existed for quite some time, last summer Comcast launched the Xfinity X1 eye control, which is a web-based TV remote for tablets and computers that pairs with an existing eye gaze system,” says Cristen Reat, founder and program director of Easter Seals’ BridgingApps. “This feature allows people with physical disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy, ALS, and spinal cord injuries the ability to change the channel, set a recording and search for a favorite TV show with just their eyes.”


Easter Seals Greater Houston Clients Try Out New TV Technology

Many people operate their TV remotes without issue or trouble, never considering how it might be difficult for others. Mendoza is unable to use a normal remote, so Comcast Houston now has technology that is helping her and other Easter Seals Greater Houston clients like her control their TVs with a simple eye gaze. As Mendoza tried out the X1 Eye Control technology for the first time on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at ESGH, her face lit up into a huge smile. She will now be able to easily change the channel.

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BridgingApps Co-Founder and Program Director, Cristen Reat featured on Innovation Map

At the cusp of the tablet generation, Cristen Reat saw her child, who had down syndrome, and this convenient emerging technology and connected the dots. She helped start a support group in a therapy clinic where many parents were interested about why mobile devices and apps were so engaging to their children. “We were just amazed about how our children with different types of disabilities were engaged with the devices, were able to communicate with the devices, and were making big strides in their therapy,” says Reat.

Easter Seals Joins Forces with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas to Help Mitigate Social Conditions that Impact Health

JULY 2019
Easter Seals Greater Houston today announced it was awarded a $75,000 grant by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) as part of the company’s statewide effort to support community-based organizations addressing social factors that impact health. With these funds ESGH will serve 50 individuals that are veterans and or current military as well as their family members. This will include services such as digital trainings through app reviews and videos, face-to-face counseling and counseling via tele-health, especially for those without transportation or living in rural areas. The funding will also help create sustainability for Easter Seals Greater Houston’s behavioral health services by securing contracts to provide services, by leveraging services through tele-medicine and the use of apps and mobile technology to support traditional counseling and combining mental health services with wrap around service through tele-health.



JUNE 2019
Today, Easter Seals Greater Houston, announced that its national award winning BridgingApps Program received a $15,000 grant from the Comcast Foundation as part of the Comcast NBCUniversal Assistive Technology Grant Fund. This support will expand the available equipment used in its community technology labs with new equipment such as the Tobii Dynavox EyeMobile Mini Classic Eye Gaze system that includes new software called Look To Learn and SnapCore First, and the AbleNet Latitude Mounting Arm that holds an iPad, Kindle or other tablet and mounts to beds, wheelchairs and tabletops. Both programs will benefit children and adults who need to use their eyes to operate computers to communicate and control their environment, which improves their educational, social and health outcomes. BridgingApps provides a bridge between low-cost, readily available technology and people with disabilities. In addition, the program provides training for teachers, doctors, therapists, family members, and caregivers of the person with a disability.


BridgingApps and SeniorNet to Share Resources on Mobile Devices and Apps

MARCH 2018
The BridgingApps Program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is partnering with SeniorNet (a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida) to share information on using mobile devices and apps to support learning goals and the independence of people with disabilities, veterans, older adults, seniors and caregivers. With the support of the CTA Foundation, BridgingApps has developed online content for the BridgingApps website related to the use of mobile devices and apps to improve physical, cognitive and social health of older adults and people with disabilities. This partnership with SeniorNet provides a bridge between available mobile devices and apps and users who seek to use the technology to support learning goals, increase levels of independence and enhance their lives.

CTA Foundation

CTA Foundation Awards Grant to BridgingApps | Consumer Technology Association

JUNE 2017
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation will award more than $500,000 in grants to nine organizations that use innovative solutions and technology to further the Foundation’s mission of linking seniors and people with disabilities with technologies to enhance their lives.

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BridgingApps Receives $30,000 Amerigroup Foundation Grant to Improve the Health of Children with Disabilities in Greater Houston

APRIL 2017
HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Children with disabilities are highly at risk for low muscle mass, obesity or undernourishment, and eating issues. The $30,000 Amerigroup Foundation grant will support the Easter Seals Greater Houston’s, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, BridgingApps Program, which teaches children with disabilities about the importance of nutrition and physical activity on health. This generous grant will enable BridgingApps to create a program that leverages the power of mobile technology and apps to help improve the health of children with a range of cognitive and physical disabilities.

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Easter Seals Greater Houston Awarded Crucial Funding for Veterans Mental Health

HOUSTON, Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Easter Seals Greater Houston and its collaborative partners have been chosen as recipients of the Texas Veterans + Family Alliance grant program from Texas Health and Human Services Commission with the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute serving as the program administrator. Houston, which has the 2nd highest population of veterans in the U.S., will have some critically needed funding for mental health services to reach veterans as well as their families. The progress to come, thanks to this award, gives us one more reason to celebrate this Veterans Day.

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Texas To Provide Grants For Veterans Coping With Mental Health Issues

AUSTIN | Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Charles Smith announced that Texas has approved up to $10 million in grants to help Texas veterans and their families manage mental health issues. Fourteen community groups across the state will receive the grants. “We need to take care of veterans, who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms,” Commissioner Smith said. “This grant program offers innovative ways to address the mental health needs of our veterans and their families. We must do whatever it takes to help these Texas heroes.” The funds, awarded as part of HHSC’s Texas Veterans + Family Alliance grant program, help improve quality of life for Texas veterans and their families by increasing access to mental health treatment and services.

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BridgingApps Awarded Grant to Create Transition Tool for Children and Youth with Special Health Needs

HOUSTON, Sept. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The BridgingApps Program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is proud to announce it has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Texas Department of State Health Services. This grant will enable BridgingApps to create an online tool to assist Texas families with children who have special health care needs access information to prepare and successfully help them transition to adulthood.

Mobile Health Bridges Funding Gap for Nonprofit Apps

JULY 2016
Funding a mobile game or a celebrity app is often easier than finding backers for special needs and not-for-profit applications. But the growing interest in mobile health is helping bridge the gap. Depending on their function and subject matter, apps are either funded by big companies, public donations, or paid for by interested organizations and individuals. Funding is typically available for research and development, and for proofs of concept early demonstrations showcasing the feasibility of a product.

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Go for the Goal – Your Story

JULY 2016
HOUSTON, July 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The BridgingApps Program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has launched Go For the Goal | Your Story contest; an invitation to those with disabilities to share a story of setting a personal goal and working toward achieving it. The campaign will appear on BridgingApps Facebook page and website.

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BridgingApps and CareSync to Participate in a Panel at SXSW 2016

TAMPA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CareSync, the leading provider of software and services for chronic disease management, today announced that the company’s founder and CEO, Travis Bond, will be speaking at the 2016 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival. Bond will present alongside representatives from BridgingApps A Program of Easter Seals Houston and Texas Children’s Hospital, as well as Henry Furler, a 17-year-old coping with multiple chronic diseases. The session, Apps and Better Medical Outcomes: Real Solutions, will highlight how mobile solutions can help patients, like Furler, better manage their illnesses and achieve medical independence.

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BridgingApps Launches Free Mobile Device Guide for Special Needs on Udemy

SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
The BridgingApps program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has launched an introductory course on Udemy, the global marketplace for online education, this week. BridgingApps is a community of parents, therapists, teachers, and people with disabilities who share information on how to use mobile devices such as the iPad and Android devices with people who have special needs. This interactive course, Getting Started with Mobile Devices for Special Needs: Accessories and Safety is offered free of charge and is the first in a planned series of online learning from BridgingApps.

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Easter Seals Greater Houston’s BridgingApps Project Making Progress with Awarded CEA Foundation Funds to Help Seniors with Disabilities | Easter Seals Greater Houston

MARCH 19, 2015
BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is making progress with support from the CEA Foundation to use technology to help seniors with disabilities. The funding allowed BridgingApps to expand its website content, create filters, develop self-directed online training and provide in-person trainings focused on seniors and other adults with disabilities in the use of mobile devices and apps.

Bridging the Gap between Technology and People with Disabilities | Arkansas Hospitals

Bridging the Gap between Technology and People with Disabilities | Arkansas Hospitals

As a parent of a son with Aspergers and a son with Down syndrome, Cristen Reat is always looking for ways to use technology and apps to help her children in their daily lives. Cristen co-founded BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, to help create a community of parents, therapists, doctors, teachers, and people with disabilities who share information about using mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) to improve the lives of people with special needs.

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CEA Foundation Awards Grant to BridgingApps | Consumer Electronics Association

Arlington, The CEA Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), announced its support of BridgingApps, a project of the Easter Seals of Houston with a grant to support their work in identifying accessibility apps. The funding will expand BridgingApps website content, create filters, allow them to develop self-directed online instruction and provide in-person trainings for seniors and other adults with disabilities focused on the use of mobile devices and apps to improve their physical, mental and cognitive health outcomes.

This Mom Finds the Best Apps for Kids and Adults with Special Needs | Easter Seals

This Mom Finds the Best Apps for Kids and Adults with Special Needs | Easter Seals

JUNE 2014
Cristen Reat is a stellar communicator. She has interpreted military secrets from one language to another, is proficient in several languages and holds a masters degree in Russian literature. One of her career highlights, however, is as a mom: when she found a way to make communication and learning easier for her sons Vincent and Martin and many other children with special needs.

Finding Good Apps for Children With Autism | The New York Times

The Apple iPad has been hailed as a savior for assisting children with autism spectrum disorder or other special needs. It was portrayed as a minor miracle in a recent segment on “60 Minutes” and has been found to help even the very young quickly learn.

4 Ways iPads are Changing the Lives of People with Disabilities | Mashable

4 Ways iPads Are Changing the Lives of People With Disabilities | Mashable

JULY 2011
Noah Rahman has moderate Cerebral Palsy affecting his communication, cognition and upper and lower body movement. When he turned two, his language, cognitive ability and fine motor skills were diagnosed by a developmental specialist as being at least 12 months behind. Then Noah got an iPad.